Author: Jacob Loeb

My family and I moved to Montavilla in 2005, firmly planting our roots in the neighborhood. Before writing for the Montavilla News, I wrote Apple Computer focused articles for PowerMax and the Mac Store.

Proposed Chick-fil-A on SE Stark

A recent land-use Early Assistance application indicates Chick-fil-A may soon open a new restaurant on SE Stark Street. If approved, developers will demolish the 1984-era building and construct a new fast food restaurant with a drive-thru window. Located at 9950 SE Stark Street, the 36,590 square-foot half-block property currently houses an adult entertainment club and bar.

The Chick-fil-A development team intends to construct a 4,991 square foot building with 98 indoor seats for guests. Outdoor canopies and an outdoor eating area with 12 patio seats would surround the new building. The property sits between SE Stark and SE Washington Streets, aligned at SE 99th Avenue near Mall 205. The site offers a variety of vehicle access points and is near the number 15 TriMet bus line. Other Chick-fil-A restaurants tend to attract many visitors, sometimes with lines spilling onto the neighboring street. However, this proposed Chick-fil-A is just six miles from the Clackamas restaurant and seven miles from the Gresham location. That density of stores may reduce peak demand for the proposed eatery and avoid traffic issues sometimes seen at other Chick-fil-A sites.

Developers use Early Assistance applications during the pre-planning phase of a project. Many proposals do not continue past this stage, and this Chick-fil-A may never materialize in this location. However, the addition of a popular destination restaurant in the area could draw in more visitors and improve business for neighboring stores. Expect to see updates regarding building permits if this project moves forward.

Sunny 82nd Market Closes

Sunny 82nd Market, located at 944 NE 82nd Avenue, closed this week, ending a long history of food sales at this site. Since its construction in 1926, the single-story shopfront supplied highway travelers and area residents with groceries for almost 100 years.

Originally constructed as a storefront with an attached house in the rear, the building hugged the road’s edge at 228 E 82nd Avenue. It was the sole commercial property on the massive block owned by the Oregon Employment Institution for the Blind, now occupied by Montavilla Park and Multnomah University. City staff adjusted the building’s address to 944 NE 82nd Avenue during Portland’s Great Renumbering of 1931-1933. In September of 1934, the building’s owners relocated the structure further back from the street to allow for road widening.

1928 Sanborn Map

For over three decades, the R.B. Grocery and Meat Market served the community from this location. During its near 100 years, the property changed hands many times, most recently in 1987. The name of the market also changed. However, it has remained a destination for the hungry regardless of what people called it. The business owners first registered Sunny 82nd Market at this address in 1991 and let the registration elapse last year.

R.B. Grocery and Meat Market – 944 NE 82nd Avenue – 1934

The next chapter for this building is uncertain. No recorder property sales or real estate listings are available at the moment. Expect to see some transformation to the site over the next twelve months as this location once again finds a new purpose.

82nd Ave Now 100 Percent Portland

Yesterday, Portland City Council voted unanimously to adopt 82nd Avenue into the City’s network of streets. This jurisdictional transfer moves seven miles of State Highway 213, from NE Killingsworth Street to SE Clatsop Street, into the Portland Bureau of Transportation’s (PBOT) control. Additionally, the ordinance accepts $80 million in American Rescue Plan Act funding for necessary improvements on 82nd Avenue.

Yesterday’s vote completes years of community initiatives and governmental negotiations regarding the future of this neglected highway. Years of differed maintenance and insufficient investment by the Oregon Department of Transportation (ODOT) left the roadway in poor condition, even as the north to south connector became the busiest street in the City.

TriMet’s number 72 bus line on 82nd Avenue boasts the highest ridership of any route in the public transit system. More than 20,000 vehicle trips occur per day on the road. Due to the deteriorating conditions and traffic volume, 82nd Avenue experiences some of the highest crash rates in Portland. Over the next few years, PBOT intends to use the initial funding to improve safety for pedestrians and drivers alike.

Already identified projects for 82nd Avenue will begin soon, now that this legislative milestone has passed. PBOT will deliver new lighting, safer pedestrian crossings, pavement repair, and sidewalk accessibility upgrades. In some cases, large sections of the road surface will need reconstruction. Most of the curbside lanes of the highway lack a concrete base layer. The original construction of OR213 supported just one travel lane in each direction with a shared center turning lane. Engineers designed the outer edges of the road for parking, not the heavy demands of traffic. 

Projects funded by yesterday’s approved ordinance only represent the beginning of upgrades expected in the area. Around 2026, ODOT will deliver a second payment to Portland, totaling $70 million. Along with the City’s pledged $35 million, this second $105 million wave of investment will enact more safety and livability improvement along 82nd Avenue. Community and business engagement around those future projects will ramp up over the next few years.

The City of Portland created a website for residents and business owners to track the new Building a Better 82nd initiative. Look for opportunities to contribute to the planning of 82nd Avenue through online and in-person community forums, focus groups, and surveys. PBOT will also partner with existing community organizations to guide future projects and coordinate with the people affected by the coming changes to the streetscape.

VTS Cargo on SE 82nd Ave

VTS Cargo recently opened at 332 SE 82nd Avenue in the Annex Building. Operated by Laurelgistics LLC, the freight forwarding company specializes in deliveries to Vietnam. Much like their neighbor across 82nd Avenue, US Express Global (USG), the business caters to Portland’s Vietnamese community, sending packages to friends and family in Southeast Asia.

VTS Cargo opened in the retail space previously occupied by OG Garden Supply. According to the posted hours, the new shipping company operates Monday through Friday from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. but may close early on Fridays.

Four Townhomes on SE 78th

Work is underway preparing 705 SE 78th Avenue for the addition of four new townhomes. Each of the two-story units contains a pair of bedrooms above with a bonus room on the main level. The original 1940s home will remain on its own lot with only minor modifications to the breezeway-attached garage.

GPB Development purchased the property in 2019 and began permit work in late 2021. A lot line adjustment will split the property into a north and south half. The owners walled in the garage door that had opened onto the alley. The new townhouses will now block vehicle access from the south. Recently, excavation crews added new large diameter gravel to the alley to support the heavy equipment accessing the construction site.

Image from Google Maps

Each new home features a similar floor plan. However, the street-facing residence differs subtly. That townhouse has an inverted layout compared to the other three units, and its doorway faces east. Residents access the other homes from the north. Plans call for a spacious entryway, full bathroom, and den with double doors at the front of the main floors. The back of the units combine an open kitchen and a living room. The second floors have two bedrooms with walk-in closets. Designers compartmentalized the shared three-quarters bathroom located between the bedrooms. Residents can close off the toilet or shower from the central double vanity room, maximizing the concurrent use of that space.

Site map showing unit placement on lot with paved pathway and back patio

The City assigned address 725-731 SE 78th Avenue to the new townhouses, numbered from west to east. A small staircase from the street leads to a walkway that guides visitors to the front of each unit. Large sliding glass doors open onto a covered back patio space adjacent to the alleyway.

The architect employs several design elements that obscure the scale of this development. A shared hipped-roof and street-facing door on the first unit gives the appearance of a single-family residence. Recessed doorways hide the number of entryways, and consistent porch rooflines tie the whole building together. Looks for foundation work to begin soon, with principle construction occurring this summer.

Renovation with Two ADUs on Burnside and NE 74th

This week, heavy equipment cleared a small grove of trees at 6 NE 74th Avenue. The work makes way for a pair of two-story Accessory Dwelling Units (ADU) proposed for the property. Kova Development recently purchased the 1926-era home in October of last year. Since then, the developer has renovated the original house and substantially increased its livable space.

Fronted on E Burnside Street, the two new residencies will join the recently updated home on the back half of the site. The original home faces NE 74th Avenue and sits close to the sidewalk, occupying less than half the available property. The back portion of the lot previously served as the house’s driveway and parking pad but lacked any notable structures and had become overgrown with small trees and shrubbery.

Google Maps view of 6 NE 74th Avenue 2017

Remodel work on the nearly century-old house is extensive. Crews replaced the roof that the previous owners had left tarp-covered for years. New windows and siding now wrap the structure, sealing its once porous exterior. The owners removed all interior finishes down to the studs and reworked the insulation, electrical, and plumbing on the main level. A recently approved permit allows for a near doubling of livable floor area by creating habitable space in the basement. Workers will construct two bedrooms with egress window wells, a full bathroom, and a living room on the subterranean level.

Plans for the new ADU units are not yet public. The design and orientation should have a noticeable impact on the property’s appearance from E Burnside Street. Look for ongoing construction activity at the site over the remaining months of 2022. This block should appear more populated by next year, and the neighborhood will have two new homes.

East Burnside Lane Closure

Update: All lanes on E Burnside are open again after crews complete work for the day. Barricades block the gravel-filled hole made earlier.


Today, the Portland Bureau of Transportation (PBOT) closed the eastbound lane of E Burnside Street from SE 81st to 82nd Avenues. Road signs are directing blocked traffic onto SE 81st Avenue around the construction. The TriMet number 20 bus line is not affected by this closure and is permitted past the detour.

An excavator is currently removing broken pavement and digging a trench along the south curb. Crews have blocked the north driveways for the Chevron gas station and Hong Phat Food Center. However, both businesses have alternate vehicle access along other streets. Drivers should plan to avoid this area while work is underway. Additionally, bikes and pedestrians may need to find safe routes around the worksite.

This article will be updated with information from PBOT staff regarding the purpose and duration of this roadwork project.

Detour onto SE 81st Avenue for eastbound Burnside traffic near 82nd Avenue

Toast Moves out of Montavilla

After nearly a decade in the neighborhood, Toast Inc. has relocated from its shop on SE 80th Avenue to a new purpose-built facility at NE 42nd and Killingsworth Street. The manufacturer of laser cut wood and leather products expanded operations over the years to encompass an extensive collection of device covers, offering personalized designs and promotional items. The former workshop at 403 SE 80th Avenue is now vacant, awaiting its next tenant.

Moving to the new location enables Toast to grow its business and make space for other similarly creative people to work on their craft. “We got the opportunity to build a new building to our specific needs that would also have additional maker-artist spaces to lease out,” said Toast Founder Matias Brecher. The second floor of the new two-story commercial building offers leasable workspaces while Toast works out of the main floor. Tenants have rented all but one of the artist studio rooms, firmly establishing Brecher’s vision of a creative community building. 

Toast launched in January 2012 as a Kickstarter project with 300 backers. Crowdsourced funds facilitated the initial purchase of a CNC laser and materials that Brecher developed into Toast. Initially, the company produced walnut iPhone 4 covers in a basement workshop but soon hired staff and relocated to the Montavilla workspace. Now, growing further, Toast is making its new home in the Cully neighborhood.

The move is biter-sweet for the business. “We miss the restaurants and bars and the Academy theater for sure, but we are excited to be part of growing the 42nd Ave community,” explained Brecher. Montavilla has incubated many independent manufacturing operations dating back to its earliest days. Toast is another example of the quiet success seen in the workspaces around the neighborhood. Look for the shopfront on SE 80th Avenue to become available soon, and visit Toast at 4232 NE Killingsworth Street if you are in the area.

Berrydale Park Open House April 13th

Update: Images from the presentation are available below and the survey link is now online.


Original article published April 8th, 2022.

Next Wednesday, Portland Parks & Recreations (PP&R) will host the second open house for the Berrydale Park Improvement Project. The $3.75 million projects will significantly enhance park amenities and ensure the space remains relevant to Portlanders of all ages. The proposed upgrades will create a new skatepark facility, new pathways, new lighting, street improvements, and a new playground.

The project’s budget doubled over the last year, with Parks Commissioner Carmen Rubio increasing allocated funds to $3.0 million from an original $1.5 million budget. The bureau will source that money from System Development Charges (SDC) and not the City’s general budget. Frontage improvement work is paid for through the PP&R Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) Transition program. It will allocate $650K to address ADA access for the park. PP&R’s maintenance fund will cover new playground equipment costing $100k.

The additional funding ensures the construction of a new skateboarding area, plus items identified by the community as priorities during the July 2021 public engagement session. Now PP&R staff want to present design options for the new park amenities. The public can participate in two ways. Designers are hosting an in-person event at Berrydale Park near SE 92nd Avenue and Salmon Street on April 13 from 4 PM until 6 PM. People unable to join the open house can view visuals from the live event and complete a brief survey online. The survey will remain open through Sunday, April 24.

Residents who participate in next week’s community engagement will help PP&R shape the future of Berrydale Park. The updates planned will draw in new park users and wake up the somewhat sleepy public space on SE 92nd Avenue. The outdoor event on the 13th will occur regardless of the weather, and forecasts call for rain. Plan to dress accordingly or watch the Berrydale Park Improvement Project website for the online presentation and survey.

Image from Google Maps

Tub and Tan Reopens on Stark

After a lengthy pandemic closure, Portland Tub and Tan has reopened its location at 8028 SE Stark Street. The businesses owner, John Captain, struggled for months to resolve issues with Multnomah County fees and other taxes incurred during his forced closure that prevented his opening. However, last Friday, Tub and Tan returned with a limited schedule and will remain open until November 2022 before closing permanently.

With 25 years in business, Portland Tub and Tan has seen its fair share of ups and downs. However, the COVID-19 closures were unique in their disruption and length of impact on this small businesses. In 2020 pools and spas were only allowed to operate for a few months. That included the first months of 2020 and then during the end of summer through the beginning of fall. Officials kept indoor pools and spas closed during much of 2021 but did allow outdoor operators to open.

Captain argued that Multnomah County should have credited health permit fees from 2020 and 2021 that he could not use during the closure. Kate Yeiser, a representative for Multnomah County, explained that they had little flexibility to adjust the fee structure. “Unfortunately, pools and spas are not given credit for months that they closed in 2020. This is a State program that the county is simply operating. So the decision would have to be made by the Governor’s office on whether credits can be applied for months closed in 2020 or 2021.”

Without income, Portland Tub and Tan had a nearly insurmountable deficit to overcome in order to reopen. Mounting taxes and operational fees compounded over the years. John Captain said he had hoped that as a Native American, his business would receive financial support from assistance programs intended for Black, Indigenous, and people of color (BIPOC) establishments. However, that money did not materialize for him, and he ultimately had to pay for his taxes and the 2022 heath inspection license.

Portland Tub and Tan is open five days a week from Wednesday through Sunday. They open at 4 p.m. and begin the last hour-long session at 11 p.m. Friday and Saturday nights have extended hours, with the final session beginning at 1 a.m. Tubbing for up to two people costs $70, with an additional $20 per person fee beyond that. Currently, customers should walk in to make use of the services offered. However, a prepaid reservation system will be available soon.

Until November, fans of Tub and Tan can once again make use of this recreation facility that has operated on Stark street for many years. After closing, John Captain plans to move out of Oregon. He feels that the cost of water, taxes, fees and rents are too high in this area to continue operation.